Tutorial on How to Blend Exposures in Interior Photography
In this tutorial, you will learn how to quickly and easily blend exposures in interior photography using Photoshop to create a balanced interior image.
Using the Rapid Blend If technique, you can control highlights in other types of photography, too. Experiment with landscapes and cityscapes, as well as interiors, to see how effective this technique can be.
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Photoshop Tutorial: Blending Exposures In Interior Photography
Step-by-step Guide How to Blend Exposures in Interior Photography
1. Open at least two images in Photoshop, one balanced image and one darker image. Stack both images into one window with the darker exposure on top.
2. Double-click in the space to the right of the top layers name.
3. When the layers properties window opens up, we’re looking for the Blend If sliders.
4. Because we want to remove a lot of the darkness from the darker areas of the images and only leave the darker window areas, we slide the left control (Black) of “This Layer” to the right. This will begin to remove the darkest parts of the layer that were working on.
5. As you can see the removal is very harsh. Parts of the wall are black and other parts clearly purple, with a very harsh separation. To soften the removal hold down the Alt or Option key and then left-click and drag the innermost slider. This will begin to blend the removal gradually.
6. You can remove a lot of darker exposure this way. However, it will still affect all of the lighter areas, even the areas that you don’t want to dull down, such as the lights and bedsheets. To selectively remove the darker exposure from these areas we add a layer mask to the darker exposure.
7. With your layer mask selected press B on your keyboard to select your Brush Tool. Make sure your foreground colour is set to black and the brush opacity is set quite high (75%+). Now paint the areas that you want to remove the darkness from. In this example, the lights, ceiling, bedsheets, and walls, basically everywhere but the windows.
8. To remove any unwanted colours from the darker layer that effected the window you can add a Hus/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the saturation levels.
9. Once you add your Hue/Saturation adjustment layer don’t forget to add a clipping mask so that the adjustments you make will only affect the darker layer. Create a Clipping Mask by pressing Ctrl+Alt+G on a PC or Cmd+Opt+G on a Mac.
10. Using the same brush technique as before you can paint on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer mask to remove the desaturation from the rest of the image. Remember, everything that you paint black will not be affected by the Hue/Saturation layer.
Alternative Methods To Blending Exposures in Interior Photography
This article was originally written in 2014. Since then we have released Raya Pro and Lumi 32 which are both excellent exposure blending panels that harness the power of luminosity masks to blend images for you based on luminance. We also have three course which all have a section covering interior photography and exposure blending.
- The Art of Photography
- Exposure Blend Like an Expert (Raya Pro learning course)
- Mastering Lumi32 (Lumi32 learning course)
You might also enjoy our newer tutorials To Blend Exposures in Interior Photography:
Blend ANY Exposures With This Tip in Photoshop Including Interior Photos
Real Estate Photography Tips
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5 thoughts on “Tutorial on How to Blend Exposures in Interior Photography”
Jimmy you’re THE BEST. I’ve done thousands of these shots and have always painstakingly masked in darker windows etc . But the blending around the lamp highlights has never looked right – MANY thanks for this – quick and Easy.
My pleasure Clarke! In situations where Rapid Blend If doesn’t work, I highly recommend NIK HDR Efex, Oloneo, or 32 bit processing for natural interior shots.
Great tutorial Jimmy ! I really appreciate your works !
Dear Jimmy ! I really appreciate all of your tutorials ! Thanks ! Michel
Jimmy, I recall seeing one of your tutorials concerning not having windows blown out when photographing interiors. I can’t find it now. Will you please send the link?
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